July 27, 2016 by Dave Newman

5 Reasons SharePoint is Often Underutilized, and How to Address Them

 

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When SharePoint hit the scene in 2001, the features its platform offered from enabling users to quickly and accurately pinpoint document elements, to modify, save and share collaborative work efforts, one would think utilization would not be an issue. However, even with all these features, SharePoint’s platform still remains underutilized across many companies. Here are 5 reasons SharePoint’s platform may be underutilized and how companies can address them and implement SharePoint as it was intended.

 

1. Old Habits

Many people still rely on the use of traditional methods (such as email) to collaborate on documents or access company intranet information. While some processes served many needs for years, people remain hesitant to use a tool that is different from what they are used to using on a regular basis. So emails continue, intranet-use goes on, and SharePoint sits underutilized.

Solution: Provide SharePoint as the only option for document collaboration, access to company information, and more. Turn SharePoint into a one must-stop stop and eliminate the old habits.

 

2. Perception of Steep Learning Curve

SharePoint does have a lot of features and requires attention to implement correctly. Some believe the learning curve is too complicated to even tackle. The perception that SharePoint takes an advanced developer to implement, use, and collaborate on, is perceived by some to be too large of a task to take on. Perception of a steep learning curve stops users in their tracks.

Solution: Offer ongoing training and help educate users on the simple solutions and processes that can be done. Take it slow and educate portions at a time so people can build upon elements of the platform.

 

3. Forgetting to communicate and reinforce the value proposition

Some companies roll out SharePoint and miscommunicate the key features of why they chose to implement the platform. Employees are then left asking “what is in it for me?” as they simply hear a “this is what we are doing” speech. When employees are not given a clear, sustainable, and continuous improvement effort explanation or not given the “this is how it will help make your job easier” explanation, the leveraging of features SharePoint offers are not acted upon or embraced. Companies are then left to continue forcing the platform without rewinding to showcase the amazing benefits it can offer an employee.

Solution: Share the benefits of SharePoint and some real life examples of how it will help employees while you encourage the value it brings, rather than the “what” it brings. Educate on the why before the how.

 

4. Lack of ownership and unclear responsibilities

It may sound strange but some members of a project team tasked with implementing SharePoint do not fully understand how to use the tool and don’t want to come across as “incompetent” on a platform they are promoting as the project rolls on and the access to the subject matter experts (SMEs) diminishes. During the original implementation there are typically a project team and SMEs working with end users to get the system running. However, once the project is over, understanding who or what groups are responsible for continuing to leverage the tool and its various features can become unclear. At that point, opportunities to use the platform to optimize processes, share information, collaborate, and fully understand all SharePoint has to offer are missed.

Solution: Provide internal ongoing training from experts who can explain SharePoint clearly and concisely. It does not require a developer to use, and with some training and key understanding, anyone can feel like a SharePoint expert.

 

5. Company Structure

SharePoint is designed to improve efficiencies. If a company does not have the structure in their organization to buy into this philosophy, the ongoing use of SharePoint is left for dead. SharePoint needs to be used, accessed, and treated as a “live” tool that requires ongoing use. If companies don’t value this level of attention, SharePoint is a waste.

Solution: Solidify the company’s dedication to efficiently use and embrace the “live” side of SharePoint. It’s never too late to shift the culture to create SharePoint use reliance.

Whether a company is new to SharePoint or has been trying to increase utilization for years, knowing where the areas are that may be prohibiting its use, and looking at ways to approach the problem, can both be addressed to increase utilization.

The above 5 reasons are a starting point to determine what areas companies may need to tackle and how to go about tackling those areas.

Calance team of experienced and certified professionals focuses on helping clients maximize the value they can achieve from their investments in SharePoint.

Services range from getting clients running with SharePoint, upgrading their SharePoint environments, moving to SharePoint Online, to providing ongoing SharePoint Managed Services.

With each project we ensure proper knowledge transfer and establishment of best practices to enable clients to continuously leverage and enhance their SharePoint solution. 

 

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About the author

Dave Newman

SharePoint Team lead for Calance with over 30 years of software development experience. Expertise in SharePoint, SQL Server, .Net, Microsoft Office, Team leadership, and SDLC.

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